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Saul Bellow


American novelist

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Saul Bellow ( Lachine , 10 June 1915 - Brookline , 5 April 2005 ) was a writer U.S. .

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1976 with the motivation "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."

He was born into a family Jewish , originally from St. Petersburg immigrated to Canada in 1913 , when he changed his surname from Belo Bellows. His father, Abram Bellows, who was imported tissues and street trading, and mother, Lescha (called Liza) Gordin, have three other children, born in Russia , before emigration: Zelda (known as Jane), Movscha ( said Maurice) and Schmule (known as Sam), respectively 9, 7 and 4 years older than Solomon (known as Saul), born at no. 130 Eight Avenue, Lachine, then the suburb of Montreal .

In 1918 the family moved to Saint Dominique Street, where Saul in 1923 he fell ill with pneumonia and peritonitis , passing six months at the Royal Victoria Hospital. To help the difficult economic conditions family, the father for a period smuggled liquor with the United States .
In 1924 , his father went to Chicago , like many U.S. metropolitan city at the time, underwent profound changes in urban and drew hundreds of thousands of immigrants, mostly from Europe. He worked at the bakery of his cousin Louis Dworkin and after a few months you do get the family crosses the border illegally.

In this context, heterogeneous, multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic (the parents spoke to each of them Russian and Yiddish , the kids English and Yiddish, but in the streets Canadians spoke French ), Saul Bellow had its first human and moral formation. In fact, of how important this environment in the formation of his personality, is found in his novels, all come from deep anxieties autobiographical. He attended Lafayette School, Columbus Elementary School, Junior and Sabin, while studying violin and read books on loan from the public library. The same Tuley High School, where he finished high school, reflected the social composition of Chicago at the time: there were Americans, Poles, Scandinavians, Russians, etc.. but there were also friends, including Isaac Rosenfield ( 1918 - 56 ), who became a writer, too, and will be the model for the character of King Dahfu it the Rain King .

In 1933 his mother died of lung cancer . Bellow completed high school he joined the faculty of anthropology of the University of Chicago that he had to leave for the scarce resources of family members after a year.

In 1934 his father remarried and found a great job in Carroll Coal Company, a company of distribution of coal , petroleum coke and wood , but the following year an accident at work in one of his drivers forced him to pay, because he did not stipultato insurance, the damage to the family, making poor return.

In 1935 , after having put aside the money you need, Bellow enrolled at Northwestern University , where he graduated with honors, working with a few short stories to magazines and fondandone a university ("The Beacon"), then moved to ' University of Wisconsin -Madison , where he wanted to take the Ph. D. . He read a lot anyway.

He returned to Chicago in 1938 and married Anita Goshkin ( 1937 - 85 ), the first of five wives will have in life. He worked at the Pestalozzi-Fröbel Teachers College (until 1942 ) and the Works Progress Administration , where he compiled biographies of contemporary American writers.
The summer of 1940 he traveled to Mexico , where he wanted to meet Leon Trotsky , but when the day after his assassination.

In 1941 officially became a U.S. citizen. The collaboration with the magazine " Partisan Review "from 1941 , in which various stories did appear, they did so knowing in avant-garde circles. In 1942 , during a trip to New York , he met Alfred Kazin , Delmore Schwartz . Meanwhile Bellow wrote the novel The Very Dark Trees , accepted and then postponed, then all of the suspended publication at the publisher WIlliam Roth, a fact that made ​​him decide to burn the manuscript.

In 1943 he worked at ' Encyclopedia Britannica , the two volumes, called Syntopicon , supplement the project Great Books of the Western World , where they were collected and summarized the plots of the most important books of the Western world. Maxim Lieber ( one thousand eight hundred ninety-seven - 1993 ) became his literary agent.

In 1944 he published the novel, Dangling Man , almost autobiographical story of a man waiting for the call to arms that never comes. In April he was born the son Gregory. Was later excluded for inguinal hernia from the participation in the army, but he managed to get caught up in the voluntary merchant marine , which assigned him to Brooklyn for the last months of the war .

After the war, he taught at ' University of Minnesota and attended Robert Penn Warren . After a trip to France and Spain , then published his second novel, The Victim ( 1947 ), which facilitated for him to win at the third attempt, a scholarship from the Guggenheim [1] . He then returned to Paris , and lived there for two years, knowing Georges Bataille , Maurice Merleau-Ponty , Albert Camus . More friends in the city were Harold Kaplan, Herbert Gold ( 1924 -), Mary McCarthy , Lionel Abel ( 1910 - 2001 ) and William Phillips ( 1907 - 2002 ). In December 1949 , during a trip to London , he met Cyril Connolly , Henry Green ( 1905 - 1973 ) and Stephen Spender .

In 1950 he visited Venice , Florence , Positano , Capri and Rome , where he met Alberto Moravia and Ignazio Silone . In October, he returned to New York, going to live in Forest Hills (Queens) .

In 1951 became interested in the theories of Wilhelm Reich , participating in sessions of orgone energy . Meanwhile, he worked part-time as an assistant professor at the ' University of New York and the American Studies seminar Salzburg . Then held several conferences to ' University of Washington , where he met Theodore Roethke ( 1908 - 1963 ) and the University of ' Oregon . He also attended Dylan Thomas .

In 1952 he translated Gimpel the Fool dall'yiddish of Isaac Bashevis Singer , the first story appeared in English of the future Nobel Prize winner ( 1978 ). So in the fall taught professor of creative writing of Princeton University , where he met John Berryman and his wife Eileen Simpson and Sondra Tschacbasov, which will become, after her divorce from Anita Goshkin, his second wife.

In 1953 he taught at Bard College, where he became a friend of Keith Botsford ( 1928 -) and published the novel The Adventures of Augie March (part of which was written in the Villa Borghese ), that the following year he won the National Book Award .

In 1955 his father died of an aneurysm . Bellow spent eight months in Reno (Nevada) , waiting for the divorce. He married Sondra Tscacbasov therefore, by whom he had a son, Adam. The three went to live in a house in Tivoli (New York) that Bellow bought with the help of a small inheritance from his father.

In 1956 he published the novella Seize the Day , and friend for many years, Isaac Rosenflied, died at only 38 years old. The same year he met Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe and attended John Cheever . The following year, he taught at ' University of Minnesota , met in Chicago Philip Roth .

In 1959 he published the novel Henderson the Rain King and received a grant from the Ford Foundation . He worked in the drama The Last Analysis (second work for the stage after in 1952 had staged Off-Broadway in a stage version of The Victim ). The same year he separated from his second wife and made ​​a lecture tour in Poland and Yugoslavia .

In 1960 he founded a magazine, "The Noble Savage", directed by Jack Ludwig and Keith Botsford (will come out only 5 numbers). In 1961 he taught a semester at the University of Puerto Rico and married his third marriage teacher Susan Glassman, with whom he had a son Daniel.

In 1962 he participated in the presidential dinner at the White House with André Malraux guest. Thus obtained a professorship at the University of Chicago who was durarne five, but then kept for 30 years.

In 1964 he published Herzog , with great sales success and the National Book Award the following year. Instead of the play The Last Analysis lasted barely a month, with mixed reviews. Nevertheless, in 1966 still persisted with the theater scene and sent in a trilogy of one-act plays, Under the Weather , which lasted less than two weeks. He then made ​​a trip to the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, and in Israel , where he wrote four articles for "Newsday" on the Six Day War .

In 1968 became a knight of the ' Ordre des Arts et des Lettres . Grants, hc degrees and honors, often accompanied by checks and hospitality, continued to be of interest because it allowed him to write and to pay the fees of psycho-therapy, which he had been subjected, from several doctors and with different methods, since 1951 .

Published the stories of Mosby's Memoirs ( 1968 ) and the novel Mr. Sammler's Planet ( 1970 , also National Book Award ). The same year he visited for the first time the ' Africa and returned to Israel , where he met Elie Wiesel and Golda Meir . A new magazine, Anon , direct Ketih Botsford, was launched in December, but came out a single number.

In 1971 it was part of the jury for the Booker Prize . The following year, John Berryman committed suicide. Bellow visited Japan again and some European cities.

In 1974 he celebrated his fourth marriage to Alexandra Ionescu Tulcea ( 1935 -), professor of mathematics of ' Northwestern University .

In 1975 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Humboldt's Gift (seen by some as a portrait of Delmore Schwartz and therefore attacked by " The New York Times "on the charge of denigrating the American poets). In 1976 he published travel memoirs To Jerusalem and Back , then, he unexpectedly retired in Stockholm the Nobel Prize for literature.

Now he was invited by many universities for lectures and conferences, but was also pressured by the lawyers of his third wife and was sentenced to pay fines and food.

In 1982 he published The Dean's December , attended the funeral of John Cheever , and appeared in the transmission of interviews Apostrophes of Bernard Pivot .
In 1984 he published Him with His Foot in His Mouth . The public library in Lachine, his hometown, was renamed in his name.

In 1987 he wrote the introduction to the best-selling but controversial book The Closing of the American Mind , friend Allan Bloom ( 1930 - 92 ) and the novel More Die of Heartbreak .

In 1989 he published the novels A Theft and The Bellarosa Connection and married for the fifth time with Janis Freedman, who was his student and then assistant and by whom he had, in 1999 , a daughter, Rosie. Bellow is older than his mother-in-law, but you build a house near Brattleboro in Vermont .
In 1991 he published Something to Remember Me By .

In 1993 he became professor at Boston University , a position he held until his death.

In 1994 came the wise men of It All Adds Up . Food poisoning sends him into a coma, and it is feared the worst, but recovers.

In 1995 launched the magazine "News from the Republic of Letters" (directed by Keith Botsford), two years later came the news The Actual and participated in the ceremony in which his portrait is found in the National Portrait Gallery , in Washington DC . That same year, the editor Harriet Wasserman published a book of memoirs about him, Handsome Is .

In 2000 , he published his last novel, Ravelstein and the following year were collected Collected Stories , with a preface of his wife. He died at home on April 5 2005 in Brookline (Massachusetts) , and is buried at Morningside Cemetery in Brattleboro .

The work

All the way literary Bellow is characterized by an emerging sensitivity to seeking those reflections that can meet great because life and meanings of being in the world and the reasons for their being. The great intellectual workings not overshadows the sphere of human feelings, rather, it is sometimes the narrative action to pay the consequences.

The anti-heroes of Bellow are mostly men in crisis, searching for themselves, without, at times, of great quality, who are struggling to fit into their social context through which Bellow communicate their emotions and ideas. The picture that gives us Bellow is the condition of modern and contemporary ills, ranging from neurosis to frustrations .

Even the first Bellow novel, Dangling Man (Dangling Man, 1944 ), is a novel diary that contains the most important aspects of the setting of the author. The protagonist, a far cry from the costumes American superomistici, puts aside superdinamismo inactive and spends a long time to re-examine his life, opting to join the army just to escape the responsibilities of the job.

The second novel The victim (The Victim, 1947 ), tells of the conflict between two colleagues, but also between two opposite personalities, one dedicated to the life pragmatic, the other committed to deepening moral issues.

The Adventures of Augie March (The Adventures of Augie March, 1952 ) is a novel in which the rumination allows room for imaginative action. But it is a short interval, because deep reflection permeates the next work day of reckoning (Seize the Day, 1956 ), in which the protagonist, Tommy takes stock of his life.
Another character in crisis is the protagonist of the Rain King (Henderson the Rain King, 1959 ), a moral fable set in an ' Africa imaginative, which is the background to the need for escape mechanisms and materialism Western , and instead allows an immersion in an atmosphere of spiritual research to respond to the issues of life and death, facilitated by human relationship that the protagonist has with the queen and the king of Wariri .

Bellow is allowed at this point in his career, a short break from work and uses it for writing his masterpiece Herzog (Herzog, 1964 ), a biography of a middle-aged professor who unleashed their existential anxieties by writing letters, never sent , to friends, to the president of the United States, to God and to himself.

Another novel of the most significant is the planet of Mr. Sammler (Mr. Sammler's Planet, 1968 ), a work technically well cared for, in which a widower escaped to ' Holocaust notes with a benevolent eye to the challenge of the flower children .

The humorous parable focuses on the absurdity of life Humboldt's Gift (Humboldt's Gift, 1975 ) concludes the first phase of the author.
In the following works Bellow shows a growing tendency to pessimism and all'incupimento. [6] It should be noted the novel 's disappearance (A Theft, 1988 ), in which the protagonist is a successful woman in professional life, but with shadows obligations, which concern its scope sentimental.


Dangling Man , 1944
Dangling Man , trans. Giorgio Monicelli , Milan: Mondadori , "Medusa" n. 311, 1953, "Oscar narrative" n. 50, 1966, including n. 1736, 2000
trad. Barbara Placido, The Novels , " Meridians ", Mondadori, 2007
The Victim , 1947
The victim , trans. Maria Luisa Spaziani , Milan: Feltrinelli , "Storytellers" n. 91, 1966, "EU" n. 843, 1978, in The Novels , cit.
The Adventures of Augie March , 1953
The Adventures of Augie March , trans. Vincenzo Mantovani, Turin: Einaudi , "Supercoralli", 1962, Mondadori, "The forest" n. 183, 1967, Einaudi, "The ostriches" n. 109, 1976, Mondadori "Oscar" n. 1737, 2000, "Oscar modern classics" n. 218, 2007, in The Novels , cit.
Seize the Day , 1956
The day of reckoning , trans. Floriana Bossi, Einaudi, "Corals" n. 118, 1960, "New coral" n. 167, 1976, Mondadori "Oscar narrative" n. 1738, in The Novels cited.
Henderson the Rain King , 1959
The Rain King , trans. Luciano Bianciardi , Feltrinelli, "Storytellers" n. 60, 1959, "EU" n. 433, 1963, New York: Garzanti , "For all" n. 55, 1966, Mondadori, "Oscar narrative" n. 704, 1984, "Oscar modern classics" n. 115, 1995, in The Novels cited.
Herzog , 1964
Herzog , trans. Letizia Ciotti Miller, Feltrinelli, "Storytellers" n. 70, 1965, "The stars" n. 23, 1967, "EU" n. 628, 1971, in Works , London: UTET , 1978, Mondadori, "Oscar narrative" n. 768, 1985, "Oscar modern classics" n. 36, 1985, in Novels II , "I Meridiani", Mondadori, 2008
Mosby's Memoirs , 1968, in Collected Stories
Goodbye to the yellow house , trans. Paola Ojetti, Feltrinelli, "Storytellers" n. 164, 1970, "EU" n. 809, 1978
Mr. Sammler's Planet , 1970
Mr. Sammler's Planet , trans. Letizia Ciotti Miller, Feltrinelli, "Storytellers" n. 191, 1971; Garzanti, "I Garzanti" n. 646, 1976, Feltrinelli, "EU" n. 955, 1981, Mondadori, "Oscar narrative" n. 1989, 2009; Novels II cit.
Humboldt's Gift , 1975, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Humboldt's Gift , trans. Pier Francesco Paolini, New York: Rizzoli , "scale", 1976, "BUR" n. 234, 1978, in the works cited.; Mondadori, "Oscar modern classics" n. 231, 2009; Novels II cit.
The Portable Saul Bellow , 1977; introduction of Gabriel Josipovic, chosen by the author in collaboration with Edith Tarcov
The Dean's December , 1982
The December Ropes Professor , trans. Pier Francesco Paolini, Rizzoli, "scale", 1982, "BUR" n. 642, 1986, Mondadori, "Oscar narrative" n. 1739, 2000
Him with His Foot in His Mouth , 1984, in Collected Stories
The one with his foot in his mouth and other stories , trans. Ettore Capriolo , Mondadori, "Omnibus", 1984, "Oscar narrative" n. 849, 1987
More Die of Heartbreak , 1987
More die of a broken heart , trans. Dida and Marco Paggi, Mondadori, "Omnibus", 1987, "Oscar narrative" n. 1094, 1990
A Theft , 1989
The disappearance , trans. Masolino D'Amico , Mondadori, "Omnibus", 1989, "Oscar narrative" n. 1189, 1991, in Novels II cit.
The Bellarosa Connection , 1989
The circle Bellarosa , trans. Pier Francesco Paolini Knopf, "Omnibus", 1990, "Oscar narrative" n. 1213, 1992; in Novels II cit.
Something to Remember Me By , 1991
The initiation , trans. Masolino D'Amico, Mondadori, "Passepartout" n. 3, 1992, "Oscar modern writers", 2010, in Novels II cit.
The Actual , 1997
A question of marriage , trans. Vincenzo Mantovani, Mondadori, "Omnibus", 1997, "Oscar narrative" n. 1941, 2007
Ravelstein , 2000
Ravelstein , trans. Vincenzo Mantovani, Mondadori, "Writers Italians and foreigners," 2000; "Oscar narrative" n. 1766, 2001; Novels II cit.
Collected Stories , 2001; foreword by Janis Bellow, introduction by James Wood
Novels , vol. I, edited by Guido Fink and Alessandra Badlands, Mondadori, "I Meridiani", 2007; contains: Dangling Man , The victim , Augie March , The day of reckoning and Henderson the Rain King
Novels , vol. II, edited by Guido Fink, Mondadori, "I Meridiani", 2008, contains: Herzog , Mr. Sammler's Planet , Humboldt's Gift , A Theft , The Bellarosa Connection , Something to Remember Me By and Ravelstein


The Victim , 1952, the stage version of the novel
The victim
The Wrecker , 1954, then in Seize the Day
The shipwreck
The Last Analysis , 1964
The final analysis : a play in two acts , trans. Paola Ojetti, Feltrinelli, "Storytellers Theatre" n. 10, 1966
Under the Weather , 1966 ( Orange Souffle , 1965 - Out from Under , 1966 - A Wen , 1965)
There is hope in sex? : three one-act plays , trans. Paola Ojetti, Feltrinelli, "Storytellers Theatre" n. 11, 1967 ( Souffle à l'orange - There is no escape - A neo )


To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account , 1976
Jerusalem return : personal commentary , trans. Pier Francesco Paolini, Rizzoli, 1976
It All Adds Up: from the Dim Past to the Uncertain Future , 1994
It all adds up : a dark past to an uncertain future , trans. Franca Cavagnoli, Milan: Mondadori, "Essays", 1995, "Oscar essays" n. 585, 1998
Graven Images , 1997
Intr. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind , 1987
Closing of the American Mind , trans. Paola Pieraccini, Milan Frassinelli , 1988, Turin: Lindau , 2009
Mozart , trans. Paola Mazzarelli, Mondadori, "Passepartout" n. 9, 1993
Before I Go , 2002
Before you leave: a conversation "Words & Images" with Norman Manea , trans. Ada Arduini, New York: Basic Books , 2009

Letters and interviews

Letters , edited by Benjamin Taylor, New York: Viking Press , 2010
Conversations with Saul Bellow , edited by Gloria L. Cronin and Ben Siegel, University Press of Mississippi, 1994

Reductions film

Seize the Day , a film directed in 1986 by Fielder Cook and written by Ronald Ribman with Robin Williams star and a small part (the man in the hallway) of the same Bellow.
Settle the Score , TV film directed in 1989 by Edwin Sherin freely adapted from the Showdown .

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